Tiah Marie Beautement '00


Not all degrees are recognized overseas, nor are all qualifications transferable. But a BA in English is easily understood on a CV, or resume. It means you have the skills to communicate and think critically.

My English degree gave me the flexibility to work in a variety of jobs as I hopped between The States, South Africa and England. I have worked in marketing, sales, public relations and administrative support in industries as varied as architecture, dot coms, and the UK government.

Now, as a stay-at-home-mother, my degree allows me to continue my work as a writer.

The breadth of people I have met using my English degree provides ample fodder in my writing. I hear so many people’s stories, their fears, their experiences that when the time comes to write I have an understanding of what it would be like to wear their shoes.

Which is exactly what a writer must do: make the reader try on someone else’s shoes. My first book has recently been published in South Africa. The novel, Moons Don’t Go To Venus, follows the story of a young American dealing with unexpected pregnancy while trying to obtain her masters on the South African AIDS crises. Unfortunately, research doesn’t always stick to paper. At the time I wrote the book I was not and had never been pregnant; nor had I ever been directly affected by the South African AIDS crises. The basis of the story came from two places: the women I met through life and work struggling with the effects pregnancy and motherhood, and my undergraduate thesis on South Africa’s Tribune magazine which was written for my English degree at St. Mary’s.

Along with being on shelves in bookstores, it is part of the reading list for South African Grade 11 English Literature – an honor I never even considered possible. But that is precisely the thrill of an English degree. It doesn’t spell your life out, instead encourages you to venture into realms you never thought possible.

Tiah currently lives, writes and takes care of her children in the south of England.